MARK Reynolds is hoping Sunday’s painful defeat against Dundee United will turn out to be all the inspiration Aberdeen need to have the successful season most people expect them to.
There have certainly been plenty of pundits predicting the Dons will build on the impressive progress made during Derek McInnes’s first full season in charge of the club.
Those claims have ranged from adding further silverware to the League Cup lifted in March, through to being capable of pushing Celtic all the way for the Premiership title.
What surely no one foresaw was a 3-0 defeat against their north-east rivals on the opening day of the league campaign, their worst at home since McInnes replaced Craig Brown as manager.
Of course Reynolds knows it takes more than just warm words to be a winner at any level of football and the Dons defender admits the performance was unacceptable.
What Aberdeen do get though is an early chance of redemption at Rugby Park tonight and Reynolds is determined to show against Kilmarnock they have heeded the wake up call and can live up to those predictions.
“It was maybe the shot in the arm we needed,” he said of that defeat against Dundee United. “Sometimes you need a reality check and that was a slap on the face.
“It’s the kind of result that can happen if we don’t turn up. We are not a world class team that can pick and choose the games and expect to pop the ball, keep clean sheets and win games.
“If we don’t give 100 percent and don’t out-fight teams then we will get beaten and that’s what happened on Sunday. It was a reminder we are far from the finished article. We can’t afford to carry four or five players. I can’t think of the last time we had a result like that.
“The goals were cheap – which wasn’t like us. The defence has been the hallmark of Aberdeen teams since I’ve been here.
“We are usually tight and hard to break down and we are always confident in the boys we have up top we can pinch goals at the other end.”
Sunday’s performance was in stark contrast to the one Aberdeen produced in the Europa League defeat at the same venue against Real Sociedad three days previously.
McInnes believed the physical and mental effort his players put into that second leg had a detrimental effect on his players at the weekend.
He said: “I think we have had a few extra days to recover again and we asked the boys to do very little in the last couple of days.
“I just felt that it took a lot out of us on Thursday going toe-to-toe with Real Sociedad and that maybe there were a few players not one hundred percent at it on Sunday as a result.”